Friday, July 10, 2015

This week in ePharma: Consumers Search for Digital Medical Assistance, and How Brands Jump on this Trend

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The  professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School Dr. Ateev Mehrotra conducted a research testing accuracy of self-diagnosed internet users. In the days when everything can be done through the internet from buying food to controlling your kitchen equipment, it is quite expected that users will seek the answers on the raising health concerns they have over the World Wide Web as well. But how accurately can the internet diagnose a user? As it turns out, the results are questionable. Dr. Mehrotra and the team of researchers have tested 23 online symptoms checkers, and only in third of the cases the results were close or correct. However, the researchers agreed in one: in case of extreme illness all symptoms checkers suggested to use the emergency room service.

FDA is coming up with a regulatory framework around digital medicine field. The digital health industry is rapidly growing bringing along yet new medical devices and health mobile apps intended to help preserve our wellness. FDA is catching up with the appropriate guidelines to monitor and regulate software and digital medicine products with healthcare intentions. But there are many challenges that occur along the way such as how to obtain a consent over a mobile device, if this is a health app that's being tested. Or how to effectively keep up with quickly growing number of users of digital medical devices and to monitor their health outcomes. 



There is a new "kid" on the digital block that is catering to people with different forms of visual impairment.
One of the largest pharmaceutical corporations Novartis just joined the health wearables tech game with a product called ViaOpta app. The app is compatible with Apple watch as well as iOS and Android mobile systems. ViaOpta has a built-in camera capable of recognizing common set objects, and the app is a navigation device that can help an impaired person to get get to the point of destination.

As it has already been mentioned, the new trend in internet-friendly households is users tend to address their needs online. It doesn't shy away from getting medical assistance on the internet as well.
As it was reported in the USA Today, there was more than $2 billion dollars invested in digital health startups in 2014. CVS is one of the corporations  closely monitoring the digital health marketplace. Earlier this year CVS Health officially opened a Digital Innovation Lab in Boston focusing on developing digital health devices and personalized services. Some of the lab's work includes an otoscope that turns into a remote diagnostic device capable of taking photos and sending them to a medical professional when attached to a smartphone.

About the author: Ksenia Newton, a Digital Marketing Assistant at IIR USA, Pharma Division, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. She can be reached at knewton@iirusa.com


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